Articles & Resources

We provide competency-based behavioral interviewing training for interview teams including hiring managers, recruiters, and interviewers. We have been publishing articles for over 40 years to address the myriad of issues encountered in the process of hiring top talent.

Initiative ­- Who Has It?

NEWSLETTER • volume 1 • number 4

Most college recruiters search for some evidence of initiative in candidates. For instance, one candidate may have started an on-campus special interest group to correct an area of neglect by the school administration or another candidate may have formed hew own part-time business to deliver "survival packs" to students from their parents during exam week. Evidence of initiative? Yes. If you don't find examples, could you say the person lacks initiative? It depends.

Some students have no financial aid from their families and work 20-30 hours a week to self-finance their education. Would you say that person "lacks initiative" when they had no time to demonstrate it in traditional ways? This is often a dilemma found by minority students.

On the other hand, who faults an affluent student, with no such pressures or challenges, for not demonstrating initiative?

If Dan Quayle joined a fraternity and the school golf team while at college, was he showing initiative or simply taking advantage of opportunities that arose? We might not question his initiative if his involvement looks good on a resumé.

Interviewers will have to ask tougher questions of people who have distinct financial and social advantages. And by carefully examining the candidate's challenges or opportunities during their college years, we can begin to determine initiative.